First community owned wind-fuelled electric vehicle powers up

(article by Jamie Adam of Community Energy Scotland)

Yesterday saw the launch of one of the most green vehicles in the UK at a ground-breaking facility in Fife. Fife Shopping and Support Services, (FS&SS), delivers groceries and pensions to the region’s elderly and disabled, and has become the latest example in the Kingdom to adopt renewable technology.
The wind-powered vanIn a bid to cut staff mileage costs as well as carbon emissions, FS&SS contacted Community Energy Scotland and was subsequently awarded the first ever Scottish Government CARES grant towards an electric vehicle. The van was then bought via with further assistance from Fife Council and BRAG.

The van is powered from a charging point at the East Fife site where a 750kW wind turbine feeds not only the local national grid but also a hydrogen-producing electrolysis plant.
This hydrogen is stored in a large tank on site and can be fed back through a fuel cell to provide power for the Hydrogen Office for up to two weeks without any wind. This means that the electric van will be charged directly from 100% wind power, regardless of the weather, and is believed to be the first in the UK to do so. The charging point was kindly donated by Zero Carbon World, and was installed free of charge by PURE, who were involved in the construction of the Hydrogen Office.
By charging from wind power at night, when the national demand for electricity is lower, it is also a demonstration of how intermittent renewables can be integrated onto the grid, with peaks in green energy production put to good use.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:
“The Hydrogen Office and FS&SS are playing a vital role in demonstrating the link between Scotland’s renewable energy resources and the role that fuel cells and energy storage can play in low carbon Scotland. The Scottish Government wants to ensure that communities right across Scotland benefit from the renewables revolution, and we are pleased to support this innovative project through the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES).
“We are committed to achieving the almost complete decarbonisation of road transportation by 2050, along with a mature market for low carbon cars – resulting in lower emissions by 2020.
“We therefore welcome initiatives such as this just as we are pressing ahead with similar schemes to enable us to achieve our world leading targets. We have invested £3.3m in our Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Support Scheme enabling local authorities and a number of other public bodies to purchase low carbon vehicles and supportive infrastructure.”
As well as being highly innovative, the electric van project is saving FS&SS over £1500 a year, and over 1.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Lynne Ogilvie, manager at FS&SS, said: “As a not for profit social enterprise keeping costs low for service users is vital and low cost delivery vehicles will make a substantial difference while protecting the environment.”
These benefits were emphasized by Chair of Fife Council’s Environment, Enterprise & Transportation Committee, Tony Martin, who said: “This launch just goes to underline how important the roles of Fife and Methil play in the renewable energy sector throughout the UK and indeed across the world.

“For Fife Shopping and Support Services the environmental and financial benefits of using the wind-powered van within the local community are plain to see. Hopefully we will witness a rise in the number of organisations in the region adopting more efficient and greener energy methods where possible, to ensure Fife remains at the forefront of renewable energy in Scotland and further afield.”
The van will be made available to the staff at the Hydrogen Office for educational visits to local schools.


Community Energy Scotland

STV article and video clip


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